Gunhed57 2012-04-09 04:57:11
BY JENN LONG Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003
With the new school year just days away a new legislative act that will
require schools to record a student s body mass is attracting support and
criticism from parents and school officials in Washington County.
Passed in April by the Arkansas General Assembly, Act 1220 of 2003 has only
recently become an issue as parents get their children prepared for the
first day of school Monday.
The law demands that school personnel figure each student s body mass index
calculated using a formula that uses height and weight and compares it to
other children for inclusion on the student s report card each year.
Schools are also required to provide pamphlets and other materials that
explain the health effects of the body mass index.
Local state legislators who support the bill contend that the new
requirement was intended to help battle childhood obesity, which is
increasingly becoming a health risk in the state and nation, according to
the United States Center for Disease Control. “We are facing a crisis in
this country and in Arkansas with obesity,” said Arkansas District 7 Sen.
Sue Madison. “I realize this is seeming like a huge invasion of privacy but
there is a concern because of the health crisis and to some extent that
crisis will be [shouldered] by the taxpayers in the future,” she said
referring to potential long-term health care costs resulting from obesity.
According to the local school health officials, childhood obesity can lead
to diabetes, sleep apnea, coronary artery disease and depression.
Parents and school officials have taken issue with the BMI measurement,
stating that calculating and recording the body mass index goes beyond a
school s mission and responsibility. “This has absolutely nothing to do
with educating my children,” said Washington County resident Tyrun Bates,
who has three children attending Lincoln Public School. “Our schools have
enough funding problems that we should not spend one dime on something that
does not have to do with education.”
Prairie Grove Superintendent Tom Louks said the district is prepared to
implement the new requirement, but will do so with some reservations. “We
will do it if we are told to do it,” he said. “But you can t legislate
morality and you can t tell someone they can t be fat. It borders on
privacy issues. I think it takes the role of parent and gives it to the
Implementing the BMI assessment has been put on hold by the Arkansas
Department of Education until a health advisory committee, also created by
Act 1220, has developed recommendations for measuring and recording BMI.
In a letter to the state s superintendents, ADE Director Ray Simon told
school officials that the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas
Center for Health Improvement are working with the ADE to seek funding for
the BMI assessment and reporting.
The BMI recording is just a small part of Act 1220, which also creates a
child health advisory board that is charged with combating childhood
obesity. Other issues, such as limiting elementary school students access
to vending machines, are also addressed in the new law.
The new mandate has attracted some parental support.
Jill Flood, a Fayetteville resident and parent of a second-grader at Happy
Hollow Elementary School, said she supported schools calculating body mass
index because of potential health risks associated with childhood obesity.
However, she did not believe the measurement should be included on a report
card, she said. “It is just a gut feeling that it shouldn t be there.
Report cards really aren t private,” she said.
Several school officials have said they are wary of the mandate, citing
privacy and social stigma concerns.
Farmington Superintendent Ron Wright said recently that measuring and
recording body mass index can create embarrassing situations for young
adults who are already dealing with self-image issues. Selfesteem and
confidence could be damaged at a fragile time, he said. “I have talked with
some of our counselors and they are concerned because it would be taken at
the worst possible time for this group of kids. Their bodies are changing
and they are already dealing with adolescence and it is just a tough time
for them,” Wright said.
Beth Passmore, Greenland Schools head nurse, went a step further with her
belief that the new requirement could potentially cause eating disorders.
“There is already evidence of eating disorders in middle school children
here and in the older elementary school students. Students can be cruel,”
Passmore has been a registered nurse for 15 years, 10 of which were spent
as a school nurse in districts throughout the state. “BMI does not really
provide an accurate picture of a person s health in regards to weight
anyway,” she said, also noting that it would be impossible for a school to
take the measurements that would provide a complete picture of student
According to the CDC, a body mass index measurement is “just one of many
factors” that create a person s health profile. BMI gives no indication of
a child s body fat percentage. According to the CDC s Web site, a healthy
person and an overweight person could have the same BMI measurement,
depending on muscle mass. “I think the intention of the bill was admirable
and there should be concerns about health issues. However, I am not sure
this was the way to have gone about it,” Wright said, noting that although
report cards are officially considered private documents, they are rarely
treated as such by students.
Some school officials question whether the measurement will help battle
childhood obesity. They argue that parents will already be aware if their
child has a weight problem and that a number listed on a report card will
not give them an understandable factor concerning their child s health. “We
all know about weight. We see ourselves and our children. I think we can
trust parents to make that decision,” Passmore said.
Local superintendents have fielded few inquiries from parents regarding the
body mass measurement. Madison said she has received two e-mails with
concerns about the issue. Despite the small show of interest, school
officials said they are prepared to field complaints once the first
measurement is posted on report cards. “I anticipate that once it does come
out on a report card there will be some people who have not heard about
this and they will hit the ceiling when they see it,” Wright said.
` , , `
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Jane doe 2012-04-09 04:57:16
You are joking, right?
oh c***…is this one of them troll things again??
Lady veteran 2012-04-09 04:57:18
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What I can’t figure out is whether you are a fat n*** or a fat n***?
“I rode a tank and held a general’s rank
when the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank…”
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Support bacteria – they’re the only culture
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Archon 2012-04-12 01:10:27
In DK the politicians are playing around with giving the school
responsibility for the recent obesity epidemic. One idea is to remove
sodapops and candy and make healthy lunch available. A dietitian
commented that’s fine but who chooses the menu, it shouldn’t just be a
bunch of pasta dishes.
Mekrath 2012-04-12 01:10:52
The funny thing is kids ate the same c*** 20 years ago when I went to
elementary school, though I’m pretty sure we didnt have soda machines
till high school. Kids can burn that stuff off. The difference today
is that when I was a kid, we’d go outside after school and play, the
kids I know these days go home and play Playstation.
Masonboro_isla 2012-04-13 00:18:10
I am right there with you. I remember eating the same farily
unhealthy stuff in school. I used to take an extra 50 cents to
elementary school on wednesday because it was stikcy bun day (those
things were good too). The menu wasnt low fat, but it was not
terribly unhealthy, very much like todays school lunch menues. Kids
are just much more sedentary these days. I had an atari when i grew
up, but I only played it when it rained, i also rode my bike to
elementary school early to play basketball. Now of course, not all
kids will like sports, but you just dont see the packs of kids riding
around on bikes (just to ride bikes and be kids) anymore. I think
there is a direct correlation between the lack of physical activity
and the increase in childhood obesity. JMHO
Pero1393 2012-04-13 00:18:20
I heard about this one on the news. I wonder if anything will actually
be instituted in the future regarding this matter.
Lexin 2012-04-16 04:24:38
I don’t know about any other country but I gather that in the UK, kidnap
by strangers runs now at about the same number per year that it has
since the end of WW2. The population has grown substantially since
then, so that must mean that the danger is less.
Kate dicey 2012-04-18 19:49:54
This is so, but perception of the danger is greater because it is
reported more widely and with greater drama. For example, 50 years ago
the disappearance and death of 2 10 YO lasses disposed of by the school
caretaker would have made the local papers and possibly the inside pages
of one or two of the more sensational nationals. Last year it was major
TV and newspaper news for weeks.
However, it isn’t fear of perverts that keeps my son more at home than I
was at his age, it’s traffic! There’s no way to get anywhere from our
house without walking on footpathless country roads with blind corners
and 30 ft high hedges… LOTS of winding lanes here in the depths of
the Kent countryside, but traffic STILL does 80 mph past the house!
They come out of the village and see a broad smooth road where it
crosses the motorway, so they stomp hard on the go-faster peddle. Then
just as you get to the end of the row of houses we live in, it reverts
to country lane width, with an odd camber. Over the years we have
mopped up the results of far too many crashes caused by speed and
A few years back there was a nasty argument between a young man in a
souped up something silly and a combine harvester. We missed the drama
because we were away on holiday, but apparently it closed the road for
There’s a very sharp bend close to here. Just a few months back,
someone went off at that corner so fast they only stopped 40 yards into
the field. It happens several times a year.
Last year someone went off in the other direction, just by the motorway
bridge. Lots of hurt kids fell out of the vehicle – a stolen car.
Luckily they went off into a field rather than down onto the M2 – main
road between London and Dover.
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Anna hayward 2012-04-19 05:10:19
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lexin
I’ve heard that too – and also that over 90% of child murders are by the
child’s own parents or guardians! So if you want to stop kids getting
kidnapped and murdered, don’t have parents :o^
Traffic is a more serious concern – traffic is an awful lot heavier than
it ever was and kids do die in car accidents every day of the week. But
by wrapping them in cotton-wool and never allowing them out of the
house, we’re only making things worse because sooner or later they’ll be
out on their own. By then, I want my kids to *know* how to behave, both
with regards to “stranger danger” and crossing the road and to have the
necessary experience to know how to keep themselves safe. They’re not
going to get that experience locked up in the house.
It is scary – I don’t live far from Soham, where the two young girls
were murdered last year in UK, but we can’t live in fear and we can’t
cause our children to live in fear. IMHO, that’s just allowing the evil
people to triumph even more. I was encouraged to see that even in Soham,
children are playing outside again.
Interestingly enough, we have some neighbours who are from USA. Their
children are all over-weight and having trouble keeping up with the
local kids, due to their poor physical fitness. Their parents are hoping
the kids are going to get a heck of a lot fitter living in England, and
they’ve also noticed improved self-confidence.
I worry about unfit, over-weight kids kept indoors for fear of crime and
traffic, learning to be scared, unconfident and regarding the world as a
dangerous, foreboding place. It’s siege-mentality and it can’t be good.
It’s not as if most of us live in Iraq or Liberia – the actual risks are
actually vanishingly small. I predict psychologists are going to be busy
in the next 20 years, not to mention the cardiac specialists.
Anna Hayward, Email: alienvisitorATratbagDOTdemonDOTcoDOTuk
(184)176/now 146/goal 142 (146)
Started WW (online) 21/03/03 at 176 lbs
SWWC goal: 146 lbs achieved 26th July 2003
Second-Wind Weight-loss Challenge (SWWC) is at:
“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”
– from the movie Strictly Ballroom
Lexin 2012-04-19 05:10:28
I agree totally, that bothers me, too.
Lesanne 2012-04-19 05:10:40
Try them with your biggest meal.